A Thousand Years = A Watch in the Night

Good morning. It is Friday, August 7, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is euphemism. The reason I chose this word, which I’m relatively familiar with, is because I wasn’t as familiar with it as I thought. To finally have a working definition of the word is good. It is a noun, meaning, ” the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant; also : the expression so substituted.” An example that is given is the usage of “passed on” in place of “died.”

Today is International Beer Day. I was very close to picking Particularly Preposterous Packing Day, first because alliteration, and second, because I work all day opening particularly preposterously packaged packages. But I have some good friends who really like beers, and I’m talking weird beers. Every time we get together, someone brings a beer I’ve never heard of before. So International Beer Day is for them.

Let’s see . . . what happened yesterday? Work went pretty well. Christi went to Huddle. I watched Tremors, mostly at the insistence of a co-worker who was totally flabbergasted that I had never seen it. And I enjoyed it. It was good fun. Kevin Bacon (need I say more?) and Fred Ward battle some kind of inexplicable underground wormy looking things that are killing the people of “Perfection, Nevada.”

Today, of course, is Friday. There’s at least a 50/50 chance (probably higher) that I will have to work late this evening. But that is a bridge I will cross when I get there.

The Rangers had the day off; the Red Sox lost a close game, 2-1 to the Evil Empire. On to the next one.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Bible reading is Genesis 36 and Matthew 14. The entire chapter of Genesis 36 is a listing of Esau’s descendants.

Matthew begins chapter 14 with the record of the beheading of John the Baptist by King Herod. Jesus, upon hearing the news, attempted to get away by himself, but the crowds followed him. “He had compassion on them and healed their sick” (v 14). Afterward, he performed the miracle of feeding the massive crowd with a boy’s sack lunch. After this, he sent the disciples ahead, in a boat, and then dismissed the crowds. He spent some time praying on the mountain, and then walked across the water to meet the disciples, who, at first, thought he was a ghost. Peter, always the impetuous one, asked Jesus to beckon him to walk on the water, as well, which happened. At least for a few seconds. When Peter’s attention was drawn away from Jesus to the the wind and waves, he began to sink. Jesus, however, reached out and took hold of him, preventing him from sinking. Lest we be too critical of Peter’s waning faith, we should remember that he had enough faith to get out of the boat.

Today’s Psalm from Heart Aflame is Psalm 90:4-10.

4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.
5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning:
6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.
7 For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed.
8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.

Verse 4 contains a pretty astonishing concept. “A thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.” Calvin says, “The design of Moses is to elevate the minds of men to heaven by withdrawing them from their own gross conceptions.” Peter later quotes this line and has a different idea in mind. He is trying to encourage those who have given up hope that the Lord is truly going to return. “He perceives men’s faith in the Divine promises fainting and failing, from their thinking that Christ delays his coming too long.” We have our hearts too much set on the things of this world and “do not taste the pleasures of a celestial eternity.” We have great anxiety about our lives and we have this notion that we will reside in the state forever. “Let us learn then not to judge according to the understanding of the flesh, but to depend upon the judgment of God; and let us elevate our minds by faith, even to his heavenly throne, from which he declares that this earthly life is nothing.”

To bring this idea home even further, Moses compares a thousand years in the sight of God to a “watch in the night.” That’s about three hours in human time. “To express still more forcibly how inconsiderable that which appears to us a long period is in God’s eyes, this similitude is added, That a thousand years in his sight differ nothing from three hours of the night, in which men scarcely know whether they are awake or asleep.”

Father, help us to understand that our time on this earth is nothing more than a vapor in your eyes. Help us to have the larger perspective about everything. We are much too short-sighted, going along with C.S. Lewis’s statement that we are far too easily pleased. We keep our eyes on the wrong things. In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter what the traffic is like this morning, or how things go at work today. I pray for Kingdom perspective in all of life!

I pray for this day, that our travel to work and home will be safe. May our work day go smoothly, with you in the center of it. I pray for your great love and mercy to be evident in our lives, as well as to Stephanie, Rachel, Justin, and Mama. Your grace is truly enough; may we see it as so.

This reading was like a shot to the heart, this morning. I really need to shift my perspective of things, to understand that time is pretty irrelevant to God. A thousand years to him is like three hours to us; three hours during which we are asleep, which goes by like a few seconds.

Grace and peace, friends.

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